The Washington state Legislature passed its 2015-17 operating budget Monday, lowering tuition statewide by 5 percent for the 2015-16 academic year. The budget passed just 24 hours before a scheduled partial government shutdown.
Of the many budget points the House Democrats and Senate Republicans disagreed on, tuition was a big one: The Senate wanted a 25 percent reduction, and the House wanted to freeze tuition. The final budget resulted in a compromise between the two parties.
For the UW, a 5 percent reduction will save students about $540 next year. The year after that, state universities are set to reduce tuition by a further 10 percent, a drop of roughly $1,600 for UW students. These reductions only apply to undergraduate, in-state residents.
“I feel like we’re still processing the data we got … to see how the university will fare overall,” said Genesee Adkins, UW director of state relations. “But I think, in general, we’re going to be pleased.”
Regional universities like Western Washington University are required to have an even steeper tuition reduction of 20 percent for the 2016-17 year. The budget also calls for a total spending of approximately $351 million in state funds to higher education.